Mindy Ansteth, BS, CTR
Ms. Ansteth is a certified tumor registrar and a consultant and manager of cancer data management and quality improvement at Legacy Cancer Institute in Portland. She is a site reviewer because she believes in the value of Commission on Cancer accreditation and that all patients deserve high quality, patient-centered care, no matter where they live. She feels the site reviewer’s role is to listen, share best-practices, and learn from other programs. In her opinion an accredited site provides high quality, integrative cancer care across the full continuum of services and demonstrates a commitment to continual quality improvement. In her free time, Ms. Ansteth enjoys traveling and making memories with her family and friends.
Arnold M. Baskies, MD, FACS
Dr. Baskies is a surgical oncologist with more than 45 years of experience. He is a recipient of major awards in cancer research from the Society of Surgical Oncology and the American Radium Society, has held state and national leadership roles in cancer prevention and treatment, and is also a member of many societies, including the American Society of Breast Surgeons. He served as the chief medical officer and is also a past president of the American Cancer Society of New York and New Jersey. He feels that the best representative of the Commission on Cancer is the site reviewer. His interests include his family, photography, music, golf, and travel.
Joseph Blansfield, MD, FACS
Board certified by the American Board of Surgery, Dr. Blansfield is the section head of surgical oncology at Geisinger Medical Center. His clinical interests include pancreatic surgery, melanoma, endocrine surgery, and esophageal cancer. He is a member of multiple medical association including the Society of Surgical Oncology, the American Association of Endocrine Surgeons, and the Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract. Dr. Blansfield became a site reviewer because he believes it gives him the opportunity to further the mission of providing quality health care to patients throughout the country. When not working, he enjoys hiking and kayaking.
Aaron Bleznak, MD, MBA, FACS
Dr. Bleznak is the breast services medical director for the Ann B. Barshinger Cancer Institute, Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health. He is a practicing breast surgical oncologist and adjunct associate professor of surgery at the Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania. Dr. Bleznak is a Fellow of both the American College of Surgeons and the Society of Surgical Oncology (SSO) and a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS). He has had a clinical and research focus on the quality and value of cancer care throughout his career in oncologic surgery and served on quality committees for both the SSO and ASBrS. While at the Geisinger Clinic, Lehigh Valley Health Network, and Sentara Healthcare, Dr. Bleznak was involved in Commission on Cancer (CoC) activities serving as a member, administrative liaison, cancer liaison physician, and chair of the cancer committees. He also served three terms as the CoC state chair for Pennsylvania and eight years as a CoC member representing the American College of Surgeons Fellowship, including stints as vice chair and chair of the Committee on Cancer Liaison. He was on committees for both the 2012 and 2020 accreditation standards revisions.
Dr. Blondeau is a general surgery and palliative care physician and the chair of the department of surgery at Regions Hospital. Board certified in general surgery, palliative care, and critical care, he says Commission on Cancer accreditation defines a common language that allows development of improvement and quality measures. Dr. Blondeau also believes that a great cancer program is a combination of long-term vision and constant adaptation to short-term results, as well as a dedication to see beyond compliance. Over the years, his focus has been moving from surgical oncology to the management of patients presenting with cancer in acute care or ICU settings and offering palliative care early as an equitable option for patients with advanced disease.
Susan A. Branton MD, FACS, MHA
Susan A. Branton, MD, FACS, MHA is the Medical Director at Kathryn Candor Lundy Breast Health Center UPMC North Central Region. Dr. Branton believes CoC Accreditation raises the level of care of all cancer patients by assuring that participating programs adhere to high standards for all types of cancer.
After serving her local community cancer center and breast center for many years, Dr. Branton has grown to appreciate the high standards that the CoC promotes in cancer care. “I see how participating in the accreditation process raises the level of care in my community and for my patients and I would like to assist other communities in assuring their patients that they are receiving this high standard of care.”
Outside of work, Dr. Branton stays busy bee-keeping, hiking, reading and traveling.
Dr. Cheema is a hematologist, medical oncologist, and the medical director of East Region Cancer Care in the Fairview Health Services. Board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine with subspecialties in Hematology and Medical Oncology, Dr. Cheema has been the chair of his cancer committee for more than 10 years and experienced firsthand how Commission on Cancer accreditation improved his program. A die-hard Green Bay Packers fan, Dr. Cheema enjoys golf, hiking and travelling.
Aaron Chevinsky, MD, FACS
Newport News, VA
Aaron H. Chevinsky, MD, FACS is a surgical oncologist and the director of the oncology service line for the Riverside Cancer Care Network in Southeastern Virginia. Dr. Chevinsky is board certified by the American Board of Surgery and earned a certificate of special competency in surgical critical care. Dr. Chevinsky also earned a Master of Business Administration degree from Fairleigh Dickinson University in health sector management, and he is a fellow of the American College of Surgeons. He is also a member of the Society for Surgical Oncology and the American Society of Breast Surgery.
Dr. Chevinsky’s expertise is in surgical oncology and breast surgery. He is also interested in clinical research and heads the oncology research team at Riverside Health. He became involved with the Commission on Cancer to help cancer programs grow and develop and assist in providing the best care to their patients.
Dr. Chevinsky and his wife, a registered nurse, have four children, all of whom are involved in the medical field. He enjoys being in Hampton Roads area, appreciates the friendly people, the regional history, and recreational opportunities on the water.
Sanjivani Cholkar-Bakare, MD, FACS
Dr. Cholkar-Bakare is a general surgeon affiliated with James J. Peters VA Medical Center in the Bronx. Her main reason for becoming a site reviewer was to help cancer programs learn and share best practices with each other. She states that the number one value of accreditation is the opportunity for cancer patients to get the best care in their community. In her free time, Dr. Cholkar-Bakare enjoys playing bridge.
M. Kathleen Christian, MD, FACS
Dr. Christian is a general surgeon affiliated with Mayo Clinic Health System and Franciscan Healthcare in LaCrosse, WI. She became a site reviewer to promote the value and importance of NAPBC accreditation and believes accreditation gives assurance to both patients and families that they are receiving high-quality cancer care. In her down time, Dr. Christian enjoys hiking, and cycling.
Cliff P. Connery, MD
Dr. Connery is a senior vice president and chair of the Cancer Institute at Nuvance Health and previously served as director of thoracic oncology at Continuum Health Partners in New York. An elected member of numerous professional societies, including the American College of Chest Physicians, the Society of Thoracic Surgeons, and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dr. Connery is skilled in minimally invasive, video-assisted, and robotic procedures and in treating patients with lung and esophageal cancer and mediastinal tumors. He recently served as the New York State Chair for the Commission on Cancer and has been recognized by groups such as Castle Connolly, Hudson Valley Top Doctors and New York Best Doctors for more than 20 years. In his spare time, Dr. Connery enjoys sailing, skiing, and landscaping.
Mario R. Contreras, MD, FCAP
Dr. Contreras was chair of pathology from 2000 to 2015 at Franciscan St. Elizabeth Health in Lafayette, IN. With a background in anatomic and clinical pathology and experience as a College of American Pathologists inspector, he enjoys activities that promote compliance. Dr. Contreras believes an excellent cancer program follows the organizational, operational, and accreditation standards instituted by federal and professional organizations such as the Commission on Cancer. His interests and hobbies include Mayan history and archeology, playing soccer, and hiking.
William Dooley, MD, FACS
Oklahoma City, OK
Dr. Dooley is a surgical oncologist and a professor and chair of surgical breast oncology at the University of Oklahoma in Oklahoma City. He believes accreditation is important as it is instrumental in helping to focus on important goals such as best practices and reassessing treatments and outcomes. Dr. Dooley is passionate about community service and his pastimes include fly fishing, horseback riding, and gourmet cooking.
Stephen J. Dreyer, MD, FACS
Dr. Dreyer is a retired general surgeon who remains active in the American College of Surgeons by doing site visits for the Commission on Cancer (CoC). He considers CoC accreditation important for any hospital that treats cancer patients as it provides the collaborative environment and the data reporting tools that enable health care providers to continuously measure, analyze, and improve outcomes for those patients. Dr. Dreyer enjoys running and traveling.
David Fishman, MD
New Canaan, CT
Dr. Fishman is a professor of obstetrics and gynecology at the Weill Cornell School of Medicine and the cancer center director, the director of gynecologic oncology, and the vice chair of obstetrics and gynecology at New York Presbyterian Queens. He is a member of many medical and honor societies and patient advocacy groups including the American Gynecologic and Obstetrical Society, the AOA Honor Medical Society, and the Society of Gynecologic Oncologists. He also established The National Cancer Institute’s National Ovarian Cancer Early Detection Program in 1999. Dr. Fishman serves as an editor for three journals and ad hoc reviewer for 43 medical and scientific journals. He has authored over 300 scientific papers, abstracts, book chapters and books on gynecologic malignancies. In his free time, he enjoys playing golf and spending time with his family.
Robert M. Flanigan, MD, FACS
Dr. Flanigan was a board-certified general surgeon who practiced at Sherman Hospital in Elgin, IL from 1975 until 1979, and then at Advocate Good Shepherd Hospital in Barrington until his retirement in 2008. He was chair of the department of surgery and president of the medical staff while at Good Shepherd and his general surgery practice specialized in providing surgical care for patients with breast disease. His principal interest in being a site reviewer is to assure that cancer patients receive the best possible care for their cancers. In his spare time, Dr. Flanigan enjoys sailing in the Virgin Islands, biking, and reading military history.
Stewart B. Fleishman, MD
Palms Spring, CA
Dr. Fleishman was the founding director of Cancer Supportive Services, Continuum Cancer Centers of New York, now part of the Mount Sinai Health System. He is the board chair of the Coachella Valley Volunteers in Medicine in Indio, CA, the only no-cost clinic in the Coachella Valley where he also sees patients. He is the author of the paired books Learn to Live Through Cancer: What You Need to Know & Do and Management of Cancer Treatment Recovery: What the Practitioner Needs to Know & Do.
James B. Harris MD, FACS
Dr. Harris is a surgical oncologist currently working in Reno, NV. He is the chair of the accreditation committee for the Commission on Cancer (CoC), the State Chair of Nevada and has been a cancer liaison physician for more than 30 years. Dr. Harris is a strong supporter of CoC accreditation as it helps programs to organize their cancer services and encourages continual improvement in the care of the cancer patient. His hobbies include playing piano, visiting his sons, swimming, running, and hiking and skiing in the Sierras.
Dr. Herman is a board-certified general surgeon who specialized in breast cancer surgery for more than 40 years until his retirement in 2015. He served in the U.S. Air Force after completing his general surgery residency and is the founder and medical director of Breast Health, the first dedicated breast center in Providence, RI. A clinical associate professor of surgery at the Alpert School of Medicine of Brown University, Providence, Dr. Herman serves as the American College of Surgeons cancer liaison for three hospitals in the Lifespan Comprehensive Cancer Center. He is on the Lifespan cancer committee and breast program steering committee as well as The Miriam Hospital institution review board. He feels that Commission on Cancer accreditation provides programs with a structure to analyze the quality of their program and tools to improve their performance. Dr. Herman is married and enjoys reading, tennis, hiking, traveling, woodworking, and the company of his nine grandchildren.
Dr. Hobart is an actively practicing breast surgeon and medical director of Lifebridge Breast Health Services in Baltimore. She is a member of the American Society of Breast Surgeons, the cancer committee chair of Lifebridge Health and is the former cancer liaison physician for Carroll Hospital and Lifebridge Health Systems. Dr. Hobart is an advocate of the accreditation process and feels her work as a site reviewer allows her to be a national ambassador for both accreditation and community hospitals. She is a busy single mother and enjoys running with her dog, gardening, and skiing and snowboarding with her family.
Peter S. Hopewood, MD, FACS
Dr. Hopewood is a general surgeon in private practice at Falmouth Hospital in Massachusetts. He believes accreditation shows cancer patients a commitment beyond the norm to improve the quality of cancer care, survivorship, and survival. His favorite aspect of the site review process is seeing community outreach and improvement programs. In his spare time, Dr. Hopewood enjoys family life, singing in an a cappella quintet, and playing the tuba.
Atif Hussein, MD, MMM, FACP
Dr. Hussein is a medical oncologist at the Memorial Cancer Institute in Hollywood, FL, where he is the medical director of hematology/oncology, the chief of the department of hematology/oncology and the cancer committee chairman. He became a site reviewer to improve the quality of cancer care for patients and their families and to help in building accredited cancer programs. Dr. Hussein believes the main value of accreditation is the excellence in cancer care for patients and he is most impressed by the comprehensive multidisciplinary disease-specific measures available. In his spare time, Dr. Hussein enjoys reading.
Samer Kanaan, MD, FACS
Trabuco Canyon, CA
Board certified in thoracic and general surgery, Dr. Kanaan is the chair of the cancer committee and director of thoracic surgery and lung cancer at the Leonard Center Institute at Mission Hospital. A thoracic oncologist with a specialty in minimally invasive thoracic surgery, Dr. Kanaan is a member of multiple medical organizations including the American College of Chest Physicians, the American Medical Association, and the Society of Thoracic Surgeons. He became a site reviewer to help cancer programs reach their true potential through encouragement and holding programs accountable in delivering the highest quality cancer care to their patients and communities. In his spare time, Dr. Kanaan enjoys reading and spending time with his wife and four daughters.
Maureen A. Killackey, MD, FACS, FACOG
Dr. Killackey, a former professor of medicine and obstetrics/gynecology at the NCI-Comprehensive Herbert Irving Cancer Center/Columbia University Irving Medical Center has been immersed in cancer care delivery since first starting as a gynecologic/surgical oncologist in 1984. Since 2000 she has held clinical directorships at several community-based cancer programs affiliated with NCI-academic partners in rural, suburban, and urban settings and is committed to ensuring access to the highest quality patient-centered, multidisciplinary, and integrated oncology services along the continuum of cancer care. As chair of the New York State (NYS) Cancer Advisory Council and member of the NYS Cancer Coalition, she works on HPV vaccination, cancer screening, and survivorship initiatives across New York. She views the Commission on Cancer (CoC) accreditation program as the leader in improving quality care and is delighted to support these efforts as a CoC site reviewer. A gardener in her spare time, Dr. Killackey is expanding her organic vegetable plot and sharing the bounty with her cancer team and local food pantry.
Adriene Kinnaird, MBA, RTT
Adriene Kinnaird is a senior career executive with more than 30 years of experience in developing, implementing, administering, and leading successful oncology programs and services in the for profit, not for profit and public health arenas. She is currently the senior director for oncology at Methodist LeBonheur Healthcare and regional vice president of oncology operations at SSM Health. For most of her career she has specialized in program start-ups and the restructuring of existing organizations to help them develop, improve operational efficiencies, and achieve sustainable long-term program growth and financial success. In her current position she established and implemented multiple programs and services including quality, organizational assessments, policy and procedure development, management and financial administration. Ms. Kinnaird became a site reviewer as it allows her to assist programs throughout the country in developing quality oncology programs, assuring patients can receive the best cancer care regardless of where they live.
E. James Kruse, DO, FACS
Dr. Kruse has been the section chief of surgical oncology at the Medical College of Georgia in Augusta since 2006. In addition to his general surgical oncology practice focused on hepatobiliary disease, he has been the cancer liaison physician and cancer committee chair at the college for more than 10 years. A veteran of the United States Army with service in Germany and Bosnia, he is involved in the cancer care standards development committee and is helping revise the next volume of the American College of Surgeons’ Operative Standards for Cancer Surgery.
David Mullins, MD, FACS
Dr. Mullins is a general surgeon at Princeton Community Hospital in Princeton, WV, where he has practiced since completing his residency. He has also been the cancer liaison physician there for more than 10 years. Dr. Mullins completed training for Certified Physician Executive through the American Association for Physician Leadership and serves on the West Virginia Board of Medicine through a gubernatorial appointment. Most of his free time is spent in activities with his three children.
Suzan Naam, MD, CTR
New York, NY
Dr. Naam is a trained obstetrics/gynecologist and currently manages the registries for cancer and bone marrow transplant at Hackensack University in New Jersey. Her favorite aspect of the site review process is the opportunity to interact with cancer program teams and identify best practices. Dr. Naam enjoys gardening, crafting, photography, interior decoration and traveling.
Kevin O’Donnell, MD, FACS
Dr. O’Donnell practiced general and oncologic surgery at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center for 40 years, ten years as the chief of general surgery. As a former cancer liaison physician, a cancer committee chair, and a long-time site reviewer, he finds site reviews to be educational, informative and a resource for improving his own cancer program. Dr. O’Donnell’s interests include travel, ship model building, and medical missionary work.
William P. Reed, MD, FACS
Long Island, NY
A New England native and the recipient of two Bronze Stars for his service as a commanding officer of a medical company during the Vietnam War, Dr. Reed currently lives in New York where he is a retired surgical oncologist and professor of surgery at SUNY-Stony Brook. He was chair of the department of surgery at Winthrop-University Hospital in Mineola, NY, a clinical campus of SUNY-Stony Brook from 2000 until stepping down in 2013. Dr. Reed held faculty positions in surgical oncology at the University of Maryland in Baltimore and at Baystate Medical Center (Tufts) in Springfield, MA, establishing multidisciplinary breast programs at each. He also served as president of the local chapter of the American Cancer Society and as a member of the state board at both locations. In Massachusetts, he served as state chair of the cancer liaison program. He believes accreditation provides feedback to institutions regarding quality of care and adherence to treatment guidelines associated with optimal care and his favorite aspect of accreditation is maximizing integration of the full range of cancer services. In his spare time, Dr. Reed enjoys visiting family, historical reading, hiking, opera and chasing solar eclipses.
Susan Reffett, MSN, RN, CNOR (E)
Ms. Reffett is the director of quality assurance at the University of Kentucky, Markey Cancer Center Affiliate Network (MCCAN). She has more than 30 years of nursing experience in oncology, surgical oncology, and cancer program quality improvement. She is responsible for Commission on Cancer accreditation for 20 affiliate hospitals and provides ongoing support for the MCCAN sites to help enhance patient care throughout Kentucky. In her spare time. Ms. Reffett enjoys being with her family and enjoys camping and boating.
Tarek M. Sabagh, MD, FACP, MHSA
Dr. Sabagh has worked as an associate clinical professor at Wright State University Boonshoft School of Medicine treating patients and teaching medical students, residents, and fellows for more than twenty years. A member of the American Society of Clinical Oncology, Dayton Clinical Oncology Program, and the Society for Immunotherapy of Cancer, Dr. Sabagh is board certified by the American Board of Internal Medicine in medical oncology and hematology and hospice and palliative care. A former cancer liaison physician, he also served as the president of the medical staff at Miami Valley Hospital and as an executive member of the hospital’s board of directors. In his free time, Dr. Sabagh enjoys hiking, backpacking, and biking.
Terry Sarantou, MD FACS, FSSO
Dr. Sarantou is a surgical oncologist and member of the academic faculty of the division of surgical oncology at the Levine Cancer Institute and the department of general surgery at the Carolinas Medical Center, Atrium Health in Charlotte, NC. He is a board-certified general surgeon, a Fellow of the American College of Surgeons and holds an academic appointment as a clinical professor of surgery at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. Dr. Sarantou also served as the Commission on Cancer (CoC) North Carolina State Chair for nine years and was awarded the CoC Outstanding Achievement Award. He was appointed to head the committee responsible for writing the North Carolina State Cancer plan by the Governor and is past president of the North Carolina chapter of the American College of Surgeons (ACS).
Dr. Sarantou is an emeritus member of the ACS Board of Governors (BOG), emeritus chair of the BOG patient education workgroup, and emeritus member of the ACS patient education committee. He was the chair of the NAPBC Standards and Accreditation Committee and is a member of the NAPBC Board. He is also a current member of the board of directors for the American Society of Breast Surgeons (ASBrS), serves on several of its committees and is a past chairman of the ASBrS ethics committee. He is a former member of the National Surgical Breast and Bowel Project breast committee. Dr. Sarantou is married and has two children.
Stephen L. Seagren, MD, FACP
La Jolla, CA
Dr. Seagren is a retired professor of radiology and medicine from the University of California, San Diego. He affirms that accreditation by the Commission on Cancer instills institutional confidence in its cancer program and believes standards can be a program’s organizational basis. His other interests include physical fitness, tennis, golf, bridge, and poker.
James W. Smith, MD, FACS
Little Rock, AR
Dr. Smith is a surgical oncologist specializing in hepato-biliary pancreatic surgery and chief of surgical services at the Little Rock Department of Veterans Affairs Medical Center. He held a similar position in New Orleans prior to transitioning to Arkansas and has had the honor of caring for our nation’s heroes since 2007. While in New Orleans and following the devastation of Hurricane Katrina, Dr. Smith was involved in the development of a replacement hospital and the building of a new surgical department, experiences he considers highlights of his career. A long-time site reviewer, he has seen the transition to an increased emphasis on patient-centered care and believes Commission on Cancer accreditation provides a structure to cancer programs and a true road map for constant improvement. When not at work, Dr. Smith enjoys travel, horseback riding, and golf.
Toncred Marya Styblo, MD, MS, FACS
Dr. Styblo is a surgical oncologist and professor of surgery at the Winship Cancer Institute of Emory University in Atlanta, an NCI Comprehensive Cancer Center. She is also the surgical director of the Institute’s Glenn Family Breast Center. She has been active with the Commission on Cancer for more than 25 years and enjoys hiking, reading, playing piano, and photography.
Hubert E. Spears, MD
Dr. Spears practiced surgical oncology for thirty years in Memphis, TN, and Oxford and Grenada, MS, and was involved in cancer committees for most of that time, serving for nearly 14 years as a cancer liaison physician. He spent one term as the Mississippi state chair for the Commission on Cancer (CoC) Cancer Liaison Physician group and feels the CoC has played a major role in standardizing cancer care. His practice was primarily clinical, where he enjoyed all aspects of patient care with particular interest in surgical oncology research and in offering the most up-to-date findings to his patients. Having retired from surgery, Dr. Spears is glad to continue contributing to the field of surgical oncology by working as a site reviewer. He has two daughters, is active in supporting the arts, including participation in the civic chorus for more than twenty years, and teaches at the University of Mississippi.
Dr. Sundaram is a Board-Certified surgical oncologist with both clinical and administrative roles at his cancer center in the AtlanticCare system in New Jersey. He is a fellow of the Society of Surgical Oncology and a member of several oncology societies including the Society of Surgery for the Alimentary Tract and the American Society of Clinical Oncology, where he has worked on several committees overseeing quality care in surgical oncology. As an experienced site reviewer for the Commission on Cancer (CoC), he believes that CoC accreditation allows a multidisciplinary process for timely collection of data to help recognize institutional and national cancer incidences and patterns. His favorite part of being a site reviewer is witnessing the empowerment of the cancer committee to pursue changes necessary for high-quality care. He enjoys being out on the beach or on the Chesapeake Bay, all the great sports teams in Maryland, and adding to his city mug collection when visiting cancer centers across the U.S.
Michael P. Vezeridis, MD, FACS
Dr. Vezeridis is a surgical oncologist, a professor of surgery at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and co-director of the Multidisciplinary Melanoma Program at Rhode Island Hospital. He served as cancer liaison physician and chairman of the Rhode Island State Cancer Liaison Program for three terms and has been an active American Cancer Society volunteer for many years at the local, regional, and national levels. Dr. Vezeridis believes that Commission on Cancer accreditation helps cancer patients receive high quality care while encouraging cancer programs to improve their multidisciplinary approach and community outreach. His hobbies are music, singing, reading history, and traveling.
Paul Waters, MD, FACS, FRCS
Dr. Waters is section head of surgical oncology and thoracic surgery at Greenwich Hospital in Greenwich, CT, which is part of the Yale/New Haven Health System. Before that he was division head of thoracic surgery and lung transplantation at both UCLA and Mount Sinai in New York. He serves as chairman of the Institutional Review Board at Greenwich Hospital and was the cancer liaison physician there for more than 12 years. He is strongly committed to excellence in cancer care as promulgated by the Commission on Cancer and wishes to help cancer programs continue to foster this through careful accountability.